Apr 26, 2016

Kendall's Vision for the Future is Much Brighter

Kendall at 2016 Scholarship Award Ceremony
Kendall at 2016 Scholarship Award Ceremony

Meet Kendall, an active and intelligent elementary student in the coffee-rich mountains just west of San Ramon de Alajuela.  He really enjoys playing football (soccer) at school, but studies always come first.  You might notice the tenderness and humility in his face and demeanor, and know that he is a student who really needs the help that is provided by the CAA Educational Scholarship Program, one of 24 elementary and high school students being assisted in 2016.

A few weeks ago, I received a call from Kendall’s parents that he was really having difficulty in this school term – Kendall’s prescription glasses were 3 years old, his vision had deteriorated, and he needed new glasses now if he was to keep up in class. The family had no money for new glasses and were barely making ends meet. We quickly contacted an optician in San Ramon who is affiliated with the CAA, Lic. Alejandro Rodríguez Sánchez of Optics Rosán, who agreed to provide the CAA with a 50% discount for Kendall’s examination and new eye-glasses. Within a few days, Kendall had his new glasses and was back in business. 

Because of a very generous optician and quick action by the Education Committee, Kendall’s vision is no longer an obstacle to learning - now, our shared vision is for Kendall to stay focused on making good grades to prepare him for a brighter future!  

As Kendall’s story demonstrates, It really does take a village to raise a child; in the US, Costa Rica, or anywhere in the world. Without generous donors, our CAA Education Committee volunteers in San Ramón, supportive parents and educators, the supportive “village” could not exist.

Your continued support can help us keep the vision alive for a very motivated group of students here in San Ramon de Alajuela, Costa Rica.     

Kendall with new glasses, 2016
Kendall with new glasses, 2016


Feb 22, 2016

We've Made a Real Difference with Your Help

The Animal Welfare Committee
The Animal Welfare Committee

The Animal Welfare Committee has accomplished a great deal since it's inception three years ago. Our Global Giving spay/neuter project raised almost $10,000 through the end of 2014 and we spayed/neutered 750 dogs (and a few cats!), as well as rescuing and raising litters born to street dogs. Our Global Giving emergency vet care project raised over $2,000 during 2015, and we provided care for dogs hit by cars, bitten by poisonous snakes, dying from erlichia (a tick borne disease), and more. None of it would have been possible without your donations, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Both projects are now fully funded, and the good work continues with other resources.

Feb 2, 2016

Jorge's Education Journey Continues in 2016

Jorge with CAA Members Robert Carr Lorca Warner
Jorge with CAA Members Robert Carr Lorca Warner

Jorge’s journey to take full advantage of the Costa Rican educational system continues as he moves into the 6th Grade in 2016, shown here with generous CAA Members Robert Carr and Lorca Warner.  This is Jorge's last year in elementary before moving into high school next year. He was one of 23 lucky students, 13 elementary and 10 high school, to be awarded CAA educational scholarships last week, just in time to get the uniforms, shoes and school supplies required to start classes on February 8th

For some students like Jorge, the period between early December through February 8, and most weekends were spent with other family members climbing the coffee farms in the local mountains, baskets loaded with picked coffee beans. Their holidays were not spent playing with new toys or video games, because coffee season is one of the only times that the family can earn extra money for the year. This year has been tougher than last, because Jorge’s father has a medical condition that limited him to part-time work, although he, too, is in the coffee fields doing what he can while the beans are red and ripe for picking.

But despite the hard work in the coffee fields, Jorge also brought his family some wonderful news when his report card arrived back in December---he scored in the 90’s on all his courses.  This confirms Jorge’s motivation to keep up with his studies while helping his family.  

After getting their vouchers, the students and families went to the 3 participating merchants to exchange their vouchers for shoes, uniforms, and school supplies.  And, to insure that the program was getting good value in the marketplace, we conducted a market basket analysis of uniform selection, quality, and prices in early January. The analysis identified a merchant with multiple locations in town that was able to offer the same or higher level of quality, better selection and price on required school uniforms. We should be able to provide almost 15% more uniforms for the same dollars.Even better, the pants were locally-made, providing local jobs, and have a 1 year guarantee. As an added bonus, we were able to teach our university student intern, studying to be a social-worker, how to conduct a solid market-basket pricing survey and compile the results. This term, we will provide almost $4500 in school supplies/uniforms, and supporters through Global Giving provided about half of that funding, so thank you one and all. 

It is important to know that education is not mandatory in Costa Rica after completing the 6th grade. Therefore, many academically successful students drop out after elementary school because the expenses associated with high school are higher than for elementary, and the lure of an extra worker in the fields is very strong. This is a very critical time in the educational paths of these kids and the time for extra vigilence.   

At the awards ceremony on the 23rd, several mothers and fathers stood to send blessings to all those that helped support these families. Those words of appreciation, the smiles and thankful hugs from the students and parents, made for a very heartwarming morning. 

The CAA Education Committee members also send our thanks to our fabulous Global Giving supporters. We will need to raise more money for the Second School Term, but with this great start, we feel confident that we will be ready to help these kids again in July. Education is the key to the future for children like Jorge and their families; and with your continued support, we can keep that vision alive. Bless you all.

Community Action Alliance, Education Committee  

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